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There were four convicted, after an appeal one remained. The one who “fired two gunshots into the victim’s head”

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Three people were acquitted, one was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison – this was the final verdict handed down on Friday in a case involving murder during an illegal weapons sale transaction in Ostrów Mazowiecka. The appellate court completely changed the first instance ruling.

It is about a murder that took place in the forest on the outskirts of Ostrów Mazowiecka (Masovian Voivodeship). A 31-year-old from this city went missing at the beginning of September 2015. The family was involved in the search operation (the sister filed a missing person’s report with the police), friends and acquaintances. Information about the disappearance and photos of the missing person were provided by both local and national media.

His body was found almost a year later. The investigation into this case was conducted by the Podlasie delegation of the National Prosecutor’s Office; it was an isolated thread in a large criminal case involving criminal settlements and related murders. Some of the victims have still not been recognized, investigators are trying to establish their identity.

READ: 40-year-old shot dead after a road accident. Just before he died, he wrote about a “wonderful day.”

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Judgments in the first instance

A total of four men were accused of participating in the crime committed in Ostrów Mazowiecka. After several years of trial before the District Court in Ostrołęka, one of them was illegally sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting two shots into the victim’s head, acting with direct intent to kill. The second shot was allegedly fired after the implied consent of another defendant; according to the findings of the investigation – which was also accepted by the court of first instance – he was supposed to have nodded his head, as if authorizing the fatal shot; here, the invalid sentence is nine years in prison.

The next two defendants, who allegedly helped the first two hide the bodies and weapons, were sentenced by the Ostrołęka court to 2.5 years and two years in prison. The body was buried in the forest in a place marked with a bonfire, which was also poured with diesel oil and other chemicals to deter wild animals. One of them buried the weapon in the cemetery in Ostrów Mazowiecka, next to the tombstone of his relatives.

SEE: Police: shot a neighbor while he was trimming tree branches on his property.

Only one verdict was upheld

The Court of Appeal in Białystok conducted detailed, additional evidentiary proceedings and ultimately assessed the collected material differently: it assumed that the perpetrator of the murder, i.e. the one who fired two shots into the victim’s head, was a 33-year-old man sentenced in the first instance to only 2 years. for covering up traces of the crime; sentenced him to 15 years in prison. He acquitted the three remaining defendants.

The appellate court justified such a judgment for a long time. – It is very rare for the appellate instance to pass judgments of this type in such cases – admitted the chairman of the adjudicating panel, Judge Alina Kamińska. She emphasized that the case was unusual and extremely difficult.

She said that the adjudicating panel “had huge doubts” related to the assessment of evidence and evidentiary proceedings in the first instance, which was reflected in the fact that it decided to conduct such additional proceedings at several hearings, including: listening to the explanations of the 33-year-old – as it turned out – who was ultimately convicted of murder in this case.

– It seemed that everything was “obvious”: the body of the murder victim was found, the place where the body was hidden and the place where the weapon was hidden – said judge Kamińska. The key evidence in the case was the explanation of this accused; he described the circumstances of the crime and it was undisputed that he was there when the murder took place. – He positioned himself as a passive observer (…) who accepted this state of affairs – she justified.

The judge emphasized that these explanations were the only and exclusive evidence of participation in the crime and the role of other defendants. However, it was the so-called evidence of slander; Judge Kamińska noted that this is special evidence that should be treated with “exceptional thoroughness and caution” and requires the court to exercise “above-average diligence” and verify this evidence, at least partially, with other findings.

And the appellate court assessed – agreeing with the defense lawyers’ conclusions – that the first instance “exceptionally arbitrarily and selectively” assessed the collected evidence, and in the case of the 33-year-old’s explanations, the district court “avoided their analysis at all” and “did not notice or ignored contradictions and discrepancies”. ” that had a significant impact on the case. This concerns, for example, the relationship between these explanations and the testimonies of witnesses, especially the family of the murdered person.

Date of the crime

Judge Kamińska pointed out how important it was for the case to precisely establish the date of the crime (which the district court did not do), assuming in the indictment that it took place “in September 2015, no later than September 10, 2015.” And the appeals court accepted it as proven (it described the facts that were relevant here) that the murder took place on September 10, and linked both the 33-year-old’s explanations and the evidence providing an alibi to the other defendants, which “absolutely eliminates the version of events” given by him. .

The appeals court assumed that the crime had a financial motive; the perpetrator accepted money from a later victim for a weapon that he did not deliver and avoided contact with her. During their meeting in the forest, he shot the contractor. The court also admitted that it was unable to determine who performed the subsequent activities, such as hiding the body (the place was indicated by the 33-year-old) and the weapon.

The court recalled that other proceedings are pending against the acquitted, but also against the convicted person in this case, regarding, among others, activities in an organized criminal group dealing in arms trafficking and related crimes.

Main photo source: TVN24



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